Microsoft Project 2010
The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group. Learn how to manage your work effectively

July, 2010

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to help manage your project


    There is more to ensuring the success of a project than collecting actuals and checking for resource overallocations. Putting faces on the people assigned to the tasks in your project is often forgotten in the maze of software functionality.

    OK, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and the rest may seem like unbillable downtime, even if the subject matter is work related. But workers and their executives are beginning to appreciate the extent to which non-work related social bantering improves morale, and thus productivity, just as much as feeling invested in a project does. Some might even see a dependency of the two on each other.

    Social networking tools also help uncover hidden knowledge that has difficulty surfacing through normal conversations and e-mail. And when the hidden knowledge is surfaced, it tends to stay surfaced and not disappear when team members move on.

    Tip        Make sure your team is in agreement with which social networking tools are to be used. You might want to document how the team should use the tools, when to use the tools, and what type of content should be contained, and not contained, in posts. There is a much stronger chance of the tools being used when everyone understand some fundamentals about them.


    Twitter isn’t just about people fritting away their time expressing life’s banalities (OK, it’s often this). You can also use Twitter as a project management tool. Here are a few ways you can use Twitter to help you manage your project:


    Hashtags are those funny #keywords people use to help index the subject matter of their tweet. For example, if someone wants to write a tweet about the Bahamas, they might write “The #Bahamas are great this time of year!” Now, when other tweeters click on the hashtag, they immediately see a page full of the recent tweets that have used the same tag. This is a simple way that users can quickly filter for only tweets about specific subjects.

    The advantage of hashtags is that the tweet that contains one appears in the list of hashtag subjects when the hashtag is clicked. This becomes a quick, community-driven way to promoter a Twitter account. The hashtag subjects appear in chronological order, but with the speed of tweeting, a popular subject is likely with your Twitter account is likely to appear at the top of the list.

    Tip You can also search for tweets by typing the hashtag in the Twitter search box, or use social media management and search applications like TweetDeck.

    So, how can you use hashtags in project management? Here are a few ways:

    • Search on known hashtags There are a number of hashtags known to Twitter users that refer to project management. For example, the hashtag #pmot is used for tweets about “project management on Twitter.” Other useful hashtags for project managers are, #projectmanager, #pmp, #project, #msproject, #project2010, and #pm.

      Tip      Since project management professionals will likely be using these same hashtags, using them in your own tweets becomes a good way to create professional relationships, or to get involved in project management organizations that you might not have been aware of.
    • Create team hashtags Your team can decide on its own hashtags for the projects they’re working on. For example, If your team is working on a project involving a local park, such as a public trail system, your team could decide on a hashtag to use across Twitter, such as #TrailCentralPark. Obviously, hashtags used in this way would work for projects where security is less of a concern. For a more secured use of Twitter, look at the next section about Twitter lists.

    Twitter lists

    The Twitter timeline, which is displayed when you click Home after logging into Twitter) can get very cluttered very quickly, making it difficult to find tweets related to projects. Welcome to Twitter lists. Lists allow you to group Twitter users.

    For example, if you want to group users of Twitter who work on public works projects, you could create a list and name it “Public Works”. You can then specify that the list be either a private or public list. Or, say you want to follow users who are tweeting primarily about project management topics, and you don’t want to pick them out of the thousands of other tweets you have on your timeline. In this case, you could create a list called “Project management.”

    Do the following to create a list.

    1. On the Twitter timeline, click New List on the right side of the page.
    2. Give the list a name, and then select whether the list is public or private.
    3. Click Create list.
    4. On the next page, search for people by their Twitter name to add them to the new list.
      Tip    You can also add people to the list by clicking the List button which appears when you click a user’s profile.

    Be sure to let your team know about the list you created. Send them the URL of the list so they can see who you’ve added. The URL will resemble

    Advanced Twitter search

    You can search for tweets using different criteria, such as hashtags, keywords, date, a question, retweets, or attitude. The last criterion takes a bit of explaining. You can search whether the tweet contains a positive or negative attitude towards the keyword you are searching with.t

    To try this search, do the following.

    1. Go to Advanced Twitter search Web site.
    2. Click Advanced Search.
    3. Specify the conditions of the search.

    Here are some particularly useful criteria you can use as a project manager.

    • Word      Type the word of phrase you want to search on, such as a product name that your company (or your competition) manufactures.
    • Hashtags      Type a hashtag that references your company, product, or your competition.
    • Attitude       Specify whether you want to search for phrases within tweets that have a negative or positive attitude. (And, no, I don’t know how they do this.)
    • Language       Use this criterion to search for tweets in different languages that contain your search phrase (such as your product name that you are marketing across different languages or countries).
    • Question     Use the “Question” criterion to search for tweets that contain a question. This is useful for, say, searching on a negative attitude toward you company or product that asks an exploratory question, like “I don’t understand what’s wrong with the Park’s new trail design.”


    There are a couple reasons why Facebook can become an important part of your team’s project

    •  Learn from experts about project management methodology   The advantage of Facebook over forums for learning methodology is its global impact. These days, most if not all project manager experts have a Facebook page. This means that you can create professional contacts quickly to get questions answered or to jump to a suggested site. You might call this a one-stop investigation of your possibilities.
      Here are a few of Facebook pages where you can learn about methodology:
    • Connect with other project managers    One of the lessons of any kind of social networking is the feeling that you’re not alone. Imagine! People are not only listening to you, they have the same problems as you. Now, that doesn’t necessarily make the problems go away, but at least you can find a few more people (OK, a few thousand more) to help you figure out what is wrong with your project.
    • Get questions answered about Microsoft Project     If you ask questions about Microsoft Project by visiting its Facebook page. Project MVPs as well as writers on Project are among the faces that can you help use Microsoft Project.


    Blogging about your project isn’t just about a project manager’s personal viewpoints and pictures of project-related activities (and maybe a few pics of a recent vacation and pet cat). There a number of ways blogs can be used to enhance the success of a project.

    • Major milestone announcements     Blogs are a great way to keep your team informed of not only the major phases that are coming up. They are also a good time to recognize the good work your team has accomplished as milestones are passed.
    • Keep it interesting    OK, a few pictures isn’t going to hurt anyone. From a project management perspective, one way to keep blogs interesting is pictures of a product in various stages, or of people who are making a product that aren’t usually in the company newsletter.
    • Everyone needs to blog    If only one person is writing blogs, then a sense of team is lost, as well as a sense of team investment is also lost. After all, it isn’t the project manager who is making a product. Highlighting those who are making the product adds a face and voice that keeps people on track and motivated.
    • Use all the features of a blog     Make sure you are using comments fields, as well as tags and ratings features of blogs. These features allow a project manager to understand the different perspectives that individual team members bring to a project. And often it is the fresh perspective that can send a stuck project on a new track to success.
    • Public or private blog     Decide early whether you want to use external blogging sites or internal blogs. Many products are available internally. SharePoint Workspace 2010 contains a blogging feature that your organization can use to create a blog that is private to your team.

    Other ways to use social networking in project management

    Social media for project managers doesn’t stop with the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. There are a host of other approaches to social media that can help build a project, and add a sense of purpose and team involvement to a project. Here are just a few more.

    •     Slideshare is a social network site that contains PowerPoint presentations and other documents that users create and upload. Searching on “project management” will find thousands of presentations about project management methodology. Click here, for example, to find information on how to get started using Microsoft Project.
    • YouTube     For the project manager, YouTube offers hundreds of videos on project management methodology. Videos on Microsoft Project can also be viewed there.
    • LinkedIn     As a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn will help you find experts in project management and Microsoft Project. For example, the Project Users Group on LinkedIn has hundreds of project management professionals you can contact with questions and advice.

    Oh, and we can all use a few thousand more friends, can’t we?

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Work offline from Project Server


    There are a number of reasons why you might want to work offline from Project Server.

    • One, you might want to work on a project while flying across the country (but don’t take your eyes off the instrument panel).
    • Two, the network you are using goes down unexpectedly while you’re are in the middle of managing an important project.
    • Three, you want to share a project in Project Server using e-mail. Let’s look at these more closely.

    Work on a project offline

    Step 1: Check out a project

    1. Start Project Professional 2010 and connect to Project Server.
    2. On the File tab, click Open .
    3. In the Open dialog box, click Retrieve the list of all projects from Project Server.
      The Open dialog box displays a list of projects in Project Server.
    4. Click the project you want to open, and then click Open
    5. After the file opens, set Project to work offline from the server.
      1. On the File tab, click Info.
      2. On the right, click Manage Accounts, and then click Work Offline.

    6. When you have finished working on the project offline, close Microsoft Project.

    Keep in mind, that when you open Project Professional again to continue working on the project offline, you need to select the server to which it was initially saved, and then click Work Offline in the Login dialog box.


    Note    If you do not select the server to which the project file was initially saved, you will not be able to open the project file.

    Step 2: Synchronize changes with Project Server

    1. Start Project Professional.
    2. In the Login dialog box, select the server to which the offline file was initially connected. Do not click Work Offline.
    • Note    If you do not select the server to which the offline file was initially connected, then you will not be able to open the file.
    • On the File tab, click Open.
    • In the Open dialog box, double-click the project name to open it from your computer
    • On the File tab, click Close.
    • When prompted to check in the file, click Yes.

    Your project file is now synchronized with the version on the server.

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    Work Offline unexpectedly

    If your computer becomes unexpectedly disconnected from Project Server, you can continue to make changes to your project plan. The next time your computer is connected to Project Server, the changes you made to the project will be synchronized to the server.

    Do the following when you want to save your changes back to Project Server.

    1. Start Project Professional.
    2. In the Login dialog box, select the server to which the project was initially saved. Do not click Work Offline.
      Note    If you do not select the server to which the project was initially saved, then you will not be able to synchronize the project with Project Server.
    3. Close Project Professional.
      If you are prompted, save and check-in the project.

    Share a project

    You can save a project from Project Server for sharing. When you do this, a Project .mpp file is created that you can send to team members as an e-mail attachment or to a file server. Use this method to share a file (rather than working on a project offline) when you want multiple people to work on the same file. When you receive the file back from them, you can synchronize the changes with Project Server.

    Step 1: Save a project for sharing 

    1. Start Project Professional and connect to Project Server.
    2. On the File tab, click Open .
    3. In the Open dialog box, click Retrieve the list of all projects from Project Server.
    4. On the File tab, click Save & Send.
    5. On the right, click Save Project as File.
    6. Click Save for Sharing

    7. Note    The Save for Sharing command is available only if the project has been saved to Project Server.
    8. Click Save As
      Save As button
    9. Type a name for the project file. You can either type a new name or use the name that matches the name of the project on the server.

    After saving the project with the new file name, you can send the file in e-mail to team members, who can open the file and make changes.

    Note    Changes can only be made by team members if they have Project Professional 2010.

    Step 2: Synchronize the shared file with Project Server

    Once the file has been returned to you, you can open it and synchronize the changes with Project Server

    1. Start Project Professional and connect to Project Server.
    2. In the Login dialog box, select the server from which the shared file was initially created. Do not click Work Offline.

      Note    If you do not select the server from which the project file was initially created, then you will not be able to synchronize the shared file with Project Server.

    3. On the File tab, click Open.
    4. In the Open dialog box, double-click the project name to open it.
    5. On the File tab, click Save As.
    6. Select the name of the original project from which the shared file was created.
      If the shared file name matches the original project name, then the project name will be displayed in the Save to Project Server box.
    7. Click Save. The shared file will now be synchronized with the original project.
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